Randall Cream WRT 120
16 November 2019
Student Learning at West Chester University
Almost every student has encountered troubling times in his or her life where they have challenging periods or have had a difficult time grasping the information presented by the instructor. This is due to the structure and functionality of our educational system. Our education system is set up so that students follow the directions of the teacher and receive points. They are supposed to learn from experiments and work that is based off of an expected outcome that every student should understand. In reference to Paulo Freire’s readings “The Banking Concept of Education,” he believes that students are just taking information from the teacher but not really learning anything in return. In reference to Walker Percy’s readings “The Loss of the Creature,” he states that as humans we have lost our jurisdiction but we are able to gain it back through certain ways. To both Freire and Percy, this is not learning by any means, following directions and listening to the teacher is just good listening skills and the student does not gain any knowledge from the presence of this work. Therefore, the only outcome that students can acquire knowledge on their own instead of being educated by the standards of the academia system, is to actually be the teacher and the tourguide to their own route on the path to learning successfully. Having other resources for students to learn outside the classroom will only help in the aid of their learning including biology labs, doing field work by getting out to nature preserves, using programs like Khan Academy, and giving and getting help through student led tutoring sessions.
As a biology major, a student must take 9 biology related classes, bio 110 being one of them. Course 110 consists of learning about the smallest units of life which are cells to bigger units of life which are plants, animals, and humans. Students will look at plants and animals in detail, learning about the process of reproduction and how organisms obtain food. This course challenges students to learn the basics of biology so that students can take that information and grow each semester that they take a biology course. Taking this course, students will learn about the processes in biology and what it will take to earn an A in the class.
In creating labs the students can dissect specimen that vary every time a student dissects it. Students will go to lab each week, doing a different dissection every time. They will use their scientific knowledge to inspect and dissect items that will be placed in front of them. Students will go through their specimen taking notes, writing down differences, major findings, and the overall look of the item. When dissecting items like cow eyes or animals, this will help aid in learning growth because the animal specimen is the instructions and the student has ample opportunities to do what they choose with the animal instead of following rules. Doing these labs will prepare the student for any biology related questions and will give students many opportunities to learn and ask questions. Percy references “A young Falkland Islander walking along a beach and spying a dead dogfish and going to work on it with his jackknife has, in a fashion wholly unprovided in modern educational theory, a great advantage over the Scarsdale high-school pupil who finds the dogfish on his laboratory desk,”(Percy pg 4) in which he states that the young islander has the upper advantage over the student. As for the islander, he is teaching himself and is learning through experience with cutting the fish. The islander has no instructions, but only his bare hands to help learning through hands on experience.
Alongside the labs, the students who are taking bio 110 can progress much faster if they get out of the lecture and start doing field work on nature preserves. Therefore the students who go to the nature preserves will in return learn more than the students in lecture by actually putting themselves in the first person POV. Students will be going to the nature preserves and will get to witness the true essence of the biology of plants and animals. They will take note of the different organisms that are around because each organism is different depending on the area. They will write descriptive summaries of what they are witnessing and take pictures to identify what they are seeing and to compare it to other organisms. Getting the students out of the lecture and letting them experience things for themselves will be of great value and only help to grow their learning capabilities. Percy believes the role of the teacher is important but he wants students to try others ways to learn; he wants students to learn by going off the traveled road or the standard. Taking the less traveled path helps you gain more knowledge about the different perspective of learning that comes with hands on experience because everytime you see a plant or animal, most likely both will be different and the student will have to use their brain. If a teacher were to ask what a certain plant is in the wild, the student will most likely get it right from studying or if they get it wrong, it is only a learning process and will remember it next time. In reference to Percy he states “ The pupil at Scarsdale High sees himself placed as a consumer receiving an experience-package; but the Falkiand Islander exploring his dogfish is a person exercising the sovereign right of a person in his lordship and mastery of creation” (Percy pg 4). In reference to this quote, Percy states that students do not learn from sitting and listening so they must exclude themselves from the existing educational ways and become a teacher learning through experience like field work so that they have a full understanding of the topics.
Next students can use learning such as, out of class electronic resources like Khan Academy in which students can watch videos, play learning games, and get tested on the information they know. In reference to Percy, having Khan Academy helps the student become independent from the teacher and allows the student to take back their learning rights, “The thing is twice lost to the consumer. First, sovereignty is lost: it is theirs, not his. Second, it is radically devalued by theory” (Percy pg 6). This activity is dependent on the student and the ease that they can access or exit this program at any time. Khan Academy will help the student due to the easily accessible website and by this fun way of learning. Students will use Khan Academy to visually see helpful techniques to aid them in the study of Biology. First they will create an account through the website, then students will watch videos on specific topics including processes like cellular respiration, cell division and to fully grasp the topic that is being focused on. Students have access to thousands of videos depending on the topic and lesson that are there to help the student grow. They will sign on whenever they need to answer questions, try experiments, and to challenge themselves with Biology. If a student has to learn a certain topic, he or she can learn at their own pace and on their own time, taking their learning capabilities into their own hands. In doing so, the students emancipate themselves from the teachers, creating their own responsibilities and taking education and turning it upside down. It will take the student, and make the student the teacher as referenced by Freire “Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor” (Freire Page 1). Freire along with Percy believe that the student needs to become emancipated from the old ways to actually grasp learning thoroughly and to fully understand what learning means to every student, not just what their told to learn.
Lastly, students can take part in student led tutoring sessions which are outside the classroom and involve the same material as the classroom. They will take the initiative to teach the curriculum that is taught in biology classes. Students will switch each week from teacher to student because most of the learning will be received when the students are teaching. These sessions will happen after every class so that the information is still fresh in the students mind. The sessions are there to help the student teach, which will help to increase the knowledge potential of the student. In doing so, they will be able to understand the subject or topic in a different way from the lecture. The sessions are a voluntary decision but will help boost the information and the confidence in the student. Every tutoring session will be different depending on the lesson, helping to enhance the knowledge of the student. According to Percy, “(There is always, of course, the direct recovery: A student may simply be strong enough, brave enough, clever enough to take the dogfish and the sonnet by storm, to wrest control of it from the educators and the educational package)”(Percy pg 5), Percy touches on the basis of this idea that a student can remove themselves from the traditional education system. When they do that, they create a new way of learning in which the student is teaching and retaining more information rather than sitting and taking in information from someone else. This involvement will help the student become a teacher because of the new knowledge that they are gaining.
In conclusion, students may take the initiative to do what they can do to emancipate themselves from the old ways of our education system. Having students do something other than lecture will help tremendously because they will be the ones doing the work unlike lectures where teachers tell us information to learn. Students will be doing biology labs where they can dissect animals and specimen that will be different every time. Going and seeing the plants and animals at nature preserves, doing work and watching videos on programs like Khan Academy, and having student led tutoring sessions. In doing so, students will prosper with the new learning ways, having the students take the stand and do experiments and be the person to make the instructions will be a big asset to the student in the world, only raising our students up to be confident and passionate leaders.